Emerging Minds

Focused psychological strategies for children (5-12 years)

About the course

Focused psychological strategies skills training (FPS ST) is a level two training that aims to enhance the knowledge and skills general practitioners (GPs) have learned through completing their level one mental health skills training (MHST). It is designed to develop GPs’ skills in delivering evidence-based psychological interventions for a variety of mental health presentations. This course is specifically focused on working with children aged 5-12 years and their families where mental health concerns are present.



Welcome to Focused psychological strategies for children (5-12 years).

Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families: A framework for understanding

This module supports non-Indigenous practitioners to develop the skills to form authentic partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, enriching both personal and professional growth.

Working with children and families from culturally diverse backgrounds

This module explores practice considerations that support culturally responsive and inclusive practice with families.

First meeting with parents

In this module, you will work towards developing your confidence to use a range of practice skills for working with parents who have concerns about their child’s mental health and wellbeing.

Engagement and assessment – laying the foundation for work with children and families

This module aims to promote the use of daily functional assessment, to help you consider a 'whole child' approach to your work.

Formulation – understanding the child and family

This module will consider skills that enable children’s participation in your existing case formulation practices, in order to support mental health and wellbeing.

Implementation – applying FPS skills

This module considers practice skills that support children’s participation in mental health interventions.

Concluding sessions and overall work

This module explores practices for concluding individual consultations with children and families in ways that are accountable, helpful and hopeful.

Supervision for children’s wellbeing

This module provides GP supervisees with the opportunity to consider child-focused supervision processes in line with the AGPT practice and supervisor handbook and the RACGP progressive capability profile of the general practitioner.

Ongoing professional development and Medicare requirements

This final module provides you with information on the requirements for ongoing registration as a GP provider of FPS with Medicare, including the different types of continuing professional development (CPD) relevant to FPS that will help you to reflect on and improve your FPS practice.

As a GP, you are often the first point of contact for families when they have concerns about their children’s mental health. This makes you well-placed to engage with children and parents about children’s wellbeing. Through developing skills in providing psychological interventions directly with children, you will be equipped to provide the necessary support to children and their families. These skills can be used while a child and family wait to receive further support or as stand-alone interventions when referral to specialist services is not warranted.

Listen to the following audio to hear Dr. Tim Jones, GP and Senior Regional Medical Educator, talk about the benefits of GPs completing FPS skills training.

This course will walk you through the end-to-end processes for GPs providing FPS, from the first appointment with the parent, then child, through to ending your sessions with families. It is likely you are already using many of the FPS skills described throughout these processes in your current practice. This course will demonstrate these transferrable skills as well as highlight any additional skills necessary to undertaking FPS with children. The course draws on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, psychoeducation and transdiagnostic skills relevant to this work. It begins by highlighting important considerations for practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from diverse backgrounds to hold in mind as you move through the content. These considerations will impact your application of FPS with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally diverse families.

On completion of this course, you will be eligible to register with Medicare as an FPS provider and have access to additional Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers. Module 10 of this course provides you with information on registering as an FPS provider, maintaining your registration through continuing professional development and the MBS item numbers relevant to delivering FPS.

Who is this course for?

This course is for GPs who have completed MHST and wish to further enhance their practice to provide a range of recognised psychological strategies which address the mental health concerns of children aged 5–12 years. We encourage GPs to complete MHST for children before completing FPS ST for children.

Assumed knowledge

To become a registered GP provider of FPS, you must have completed MHST. Undertaking this course assumes you have finished MHST. If you are yet to complete MHST, Emerging Minds has the following courses that will help you to meet these requirements. We would encourage you to complete some form of MHST for children before you begin FPS ST for children.

A GP framework for infant and early childhood mental health assessment (0–5 years)

A GP framework for child mental health assessment (5–12 years)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify key techniques for establishing collaborative relationships with children and parents through effective communication and cooperation.
  • Identify and implement appropriate FPS interventions for common child mental health conditions by actively involving children and families in your case formulation practices.
  • Formulate treatment plans based on the focused psychological strategies of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, psychoeducation, and transdiagnostic approaches.
  • Develop reflective practice and explore pathways for supervision to support and enhance your work with children, families and other practitioners.


It is estimated that this course will take you approximately 20 hours to complete, including reading material and watching videos.

As you move through the course, you’ll see essential resources provided at the beginning of certain modules. These may include podcasts, webinars and/or papers. They are designed to enhance your understanding of the material covered in the module. These resources are a mandatory part of course completion as they contribute to the number of hours required for you to become a registered FPS provider. Where you see material marked as suggested resources, these are not mandatory and are provided to you as an option for further expanding your learning if you wish.

You can undertake the course across multiple sessions at your own pace. The last screen you visit before logging off will be bookmarked and you will have the option of returning to that screen when you next log in.

Reflection activities

The reflection activities placed throughout this course are designed to help you consider the content presented and relate it to your own context. You will be prompted to enter your thoughts into a text area, and your writings will accumulate as you progress through the course. Treat it like a learning journal.

Use these activities to think about what you are currently doing in your practice, or what you would like to do, and to respond to any video and other content presented in the course. You will also be encouraged to ‘name the FPS’ in many of the reflections. This is where you will be required to identify the FPS skill you have observed a practitioner using within a particular practice demonstration video.


GPs are human. It is important to put boundaries in place to ensure your own safety, and to attend to your own self-care and the care of your family by creating strategies that promote resilience. It is especially important as you move further into practice in mental health. This will enable you to provide effective, long-term health care.

Some essential tools for putting in place strategies for self-care include:

  • being prepared – thinking through the ‘what-ifs’ step by step
  • understanding personal signs of being overwhelmed
  • setting prompts that will notify you that you need to recognise your limits
  • pre-determining how you will take a break to reflect and review, and how you know you will be OK to re-engage
  • linking into peer supports
  • engaging in, and prescheduling, regular stress-reduction activities; and
  • seeking opportunities to reflect on your experiences with your professional colleagues.

For more tips on self-care, visit the RACGP mental health resources for GPs.

You can begin the process of self-care as you work through the course by being aware of your emotional responses. Please seek help if needed. 

Here are some general tips:

  • We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you feel that you don’t need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later.
  • Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course, and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset.
  • Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course.

If this has raised concerns, please seek help. Call Drs4Drs on 1300 374 377, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263.

General definitions

For the purposes of this course, the term parent encompasses the biological and adoptive parents of a child, as well as individuals who have chosen to take up a primary or shared responsibility in raising that child.  

Within this course, child or children is used to describe to any child aged between 5–12 years. 

Social and emotional wellbeing refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. It incorporates behavioural and emotional strengths and is a facet of child development.1 

In broad terms, social and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is a holistic concept which results from a network of relationships between individuals, family, kin and Community. It also recognises the importance of connection to Land, culture, spirituality and ancestry, and how these affect the individual.2 

Social and emotional wellbeing is also used by some people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, who may have differing concepts of mental health and mental illness.3 

Social and emotional development involves the development of skills required to: 

  • identify and understand one’s feelings  
  • read and understand the emotional states of other people  
  • manage strong emotions and how they are expressed  
  • regulate behaviour  
  • develop empathy 
  • establish and maintain relationships.4 



A quick guide to Emerging Minds Learning

Watch the following video for a quick guide on how to navigate Emerging Minds Learning courses. 


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Social and emotional wellbeing: development of a Children’s Headline Indicator. Cat. no. PHE 158. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Commonwealth of Australia. (2017). National strategic framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. Canberra: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, p.6.
  3. Everymind. (n.d.). Understanding mental health and wellbeing [Web page]. Newcastle: Everymind.
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2009). A picture of Australia’s children. Cat. no. PHE 112. Canberra: AIHW.

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